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A meteorite that exploded in the sky over Russia Friday morning is not related to the asteroid expected to fly by Earth this afternoon, a European Space Agency spokesman told the Associated Press. It’s just a cosmic coincidence.
The meteorite, which exploded as it broke up in the atmosphere near the Ural mountains, caused a shockwave that shattered glass windows and injured at least 400 people.
The small piece of space debris hit land less than a day before asteroid 2012 DA14 is predicted to come within 17,200 miles of Earth, a record close approach for an object of this size.
NASA asteroid expert Don Yeomans agrees that the exploding fireball, known as a bolide, was likely not related to asteroid 2012 DA14, a 150-foot wide space rock that poses no danger to Earthlings.
“The asteroid will travel south to north,” Yeomans told Space.com. “The bolide trail was not south to north and the separation in time between the fireball and 2012 DA14 close approach is significant.”
The meteorite could, however, be indirectly related to asteroid 2012 DA14.
Physics professor Michio Kaku explained on “CBS This Morning” that “asteroids occur in swarms” so “it’s very possible that there’s a swarm of asteroids around DA14.”